June is nesting season for many turtles, and the state Department of Environmental and Energy Protection (DEEP) wants you to keep a look out if you see any of these animals attempting to cross a road.
DEEP reminds Connecticut residents that, during these early warm months, egg-bearing aquatic turtles will often cross roads in search of terrestrial nesting sites. But, the DEEP also said a motorist who comes across a road-crossing turtle should proceed with caution.
“Helping a turtle move across the road can be the difference between life and death for the animal, and for future generations, but your safety comes first,” said Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEEP Wildlife Division. “Be sure to assist a turtle in the road only when it is safe to do so and do not attempt to stop traffic.”
Here are some handy tips from the DEEP on dealing with turtles:
- Snapping turtles — large, heavy and feisty animals — are not as easy to “shoo” across the road. If you come across a snapping turtle, and you attempt to move it, pick it up by the back of its shell and not its tail, so to avoid being bitten.
- Always keep the turtle pointed in the direction it is going. If you turn it around in the other direction, the turtle will only make another attempt to cross the road.
- Do not move the turtle to a “better spot.” Turtles have a home range and females often return to the same general area to lay their eggs.
- In your travels, if you encounter a turtle in the road, just remember this motto: “If it is safe, help turtles cross the road.”
- If you are interested in learning about Connecticut’s turtles, please visit the DEEP’s turtle webpage at www.ct.gov/deep/yearofturtle.
“Connecticut’s landscape is highly fragmented by busy roads, and many turtles are forced to travel greater distances to find suitable nesting habitat,” Jacobson said. “Research has shown that aquatic turtle populations across the United States have uncommonly high proportions of males because so many female turtles are being killed on roadways.”